Christ in All the Scriptures
by A.M. Hodgkin
IV. Christ in the Poetical Books
3. Proverbs --

The Book of Esther closed the historical books of the Old Testament. Between these and the Prophets, we have a series of writings which have been said to deal with the exercises of the hearts of God's people as to sanctification.
Solomon's Wisdom.
Apart from inspiration, Solomon was peculiarly qualified to write this book. God had given him ''wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea-shore'' (1Kings 4:29). Solomon was a philosopher, an architect, and a man of science, as well as a king. Persons who have sought to catch the ''wise man'' tripping in his science, have only displayed their ignorance. ''The clouds drop down the dew'' (Prov 3:20) our version says, and it has been rightly objected that dew only falls on a cloudless night. But the word in Hebrew means ''night-mist.'' It is a copious mist, shedding small invisible rain, that come in rich abundance in Palestine, every night, about midnight, in the hot weather when the west or northwest winds blow, bringing the clouds from the sea.

But beyond this wide knowledge of nature, Solomon possessed keen intuition and discernment of character, and insight into motives and springs of action. This special power was remarkably illustrated in the expedient he devised to discover the true mother of the living baby [1Kings 3:16-27]. When all Israel heard of this judgment at the beginning of his reign, ''they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment'' (1Kings 3:28).

Laws for Daily Life.
The object of the book is clearly stated at the outset (Prov 1:2-4). ''To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple (literally the 'open,' the open-minded), to the young man knowledge and discretion.'' ''It is the application of that wisdom which created the heavens and the earth, to the details of life in this world of confusion and evil.'' It is eminently practical in its teaching, and we should do well to give it closer study for our guidance in daily life.

Coupled with ''the fear of the Lord,'' filial piety finds a prominent place in this book. The duty of parents to chastise their children is enforced, and is founded on God's chastening of His children (3:11,12). The influence of a good mother is dwelt upon, and culminates in the description of the ''virtuous woman'' in the last chapter. This chapter forms a beautiful contrast to woman's influence for evil to which Solomon so grievously yielded in the latter part of his life, in spite of the solemn warnings he gives in this book.

The warnings against sin of various kinds, in the Book of Proverbs, come to us as God's message independently of the messenger. The writer urges his own experience, of the wisdom of his father's instruction, as a reason why his son should listen to his own advice, given with great tact and beauty of feeling. He warns the young, especially, against the influence of bad companions, against impurity and intemperance, against contentions, strifes, quarrels, anger; against the liability to sin with the tongue through its too free use; against lying, and deceitful dealings in trade, and against taking bribes. He earnestly denounces idleness and sloth, pride and an undue desire for riches, and he commends liberality to the poor.

The Fear of the Lord.
Proverbs teaches ''the fear of the Lord'' as the beginning of knowledge [1:7; 9:10]. This is not the fear of fright, but the filial fear, the fear of grieving the Father's love.
But the beauty of the Book of Proverbs lies hidden in the meaning of the word Wisdom. Clearly, this word, as used here, means more than an attribute. We cannot doubt that the Wisdom of Proverbs is identical with the Incarnate Word of the New Testament. Wisdom is represented as dwelling with God from all eternity, ''from everlasting, from the beginning,'' as being ''His Artificer'' by which He founded the earth and established the heavens (3:19).
Wisdom ----The Word ----
Prov 8:23. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.Joh 1:1,2. In the beginning was the Word...
8:27. When He prepared the heavens, I was there....and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
...when He set a compass on the face of the deep. When He appointed the foundations of the earth.Joh 1:3. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.
8:30. Then I was by Him, I was as His Artificer.
[In the KJV, the phrase 'one brought up' is lit. 'his workman,' or, 'his architect.']
Heb 1:2. His Son... by whom also He made the worlds.
8:22. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of the way, before His works of old.Col 1:17. He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.
8:30. I was daily His delight...Luke 3:22. Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
...rejoicing always before Him.John 17:24. Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.
8:14. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding.1Cor 1:30. Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us Wisdom.
2:4. If thou searchest for her (Wisdom) as for hid treasure.Col 2:3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
8:5. O ye simple, understand wisdom.Luke 10:21. Hid from the wise and prudent... revealed unto babes.
1:20,23. Wisdom crieth... Turn ye at my reproof.Mat 18:3. Except ye be converted [ie., 'turned']...
1:33. Whoso hearkeneth unto me shall be quiet from fear of evil.Mat 11:28. Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.
8:1,4. Doth not Wisdom cry? Unto you, O men, I call.John 7:37. Jesus stood and cried, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.
9:5. Come eat of my bread, and drink of the wine that I have mingled.John 6:35. I am the bread of life: he that cometh unto Me shall never hunger.
8:17. I love them that love me...Gal 2:20. The Son of God who loved me.
...and those that seek me early shall find me.Mat 7:7. Seek, and ye shall find.
8:35. Whoso findeth me findeth life.John 6:47. He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.
8:32. Blessed are they that keep my ways.John 15:10. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love.
8:6. Hear; for I will speak excellent things.Luke 4:22. All wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.
8:20. I lead in the way of righteousness.Psa 23:3. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness.
''What is His Son's Name?''
''Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in His fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is His Name, and what is His Son's Name, if thou canst tell?'' (Prov 30:4).

This is a most marvellous verse. If we ask a Jew the first question, ''What is His Name?'' he would at once reply ''Jehovah.'' But if we go further and say, ''What is His Son's Name?'' the Jew is silent, or replies: ''It is blasphemy to say God has a Son.'' [or, he may say that the Jewish nation is God's son]. But here is a verse which attributes ascension to heaven, and the creation and control of the world to God and to His Son. ''And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true'' (1John 5:20).

For a verse by verse study of the narrative portions of Proverbs, see the Book Notes on Proverbs.

Return to the Table of Contents for Christ in All the Scriptures.

For another brief look at this book of the Bible,
see the related chapter in OT Reflections of Christ, by Paul Van Gorder.

Go to The Book opening page.